[Coral-List] Reassessing Coral Reefs: Reply To S. Mussman

Alevizon, William Stephen alevizonws at cofc.edu
Mon Apr 20 13:50:04 EDT 2015

Doug said: “But 3 or 4 decades from now, it will make no difference, because by then the high temperature events will have killed most of the coral anyway.”

Wish I was so adept at predicting the future, but my comments (once again) were
focused strictly upon what reef managers can do here and now that can minimize reef damage within MPAs - actions for which there is hard data to support the efficacy of,and do not require global treaties with enormous economic impact that may or
may not ever happen.  The suggested actions are based upon hard recent experience -
- not models and dead or century scale predictions.

Excessive recreational diving can devastate reefs in relatively short time - this has been observed many times, around the globe. Diver “awareness” programs are a feel-good waste of time so long as the number of divers is far too great. The literature is there to support these assertions.

I think some of you are vastly underestimating the number of reef areas impacted by recreational diving. Virtually every major island in the Caribbean region pushes for ever more tourism, including dive tourism. Operators naturally select the “best” reefs to visit - meaning those with highest diversity and coral cover.  When those get trashed they move their guests to the “next best”, and so on - multiply this by all the major and minor Caribbean tourism destinations, PLUS all the live-aboard operations - and the results are not pretty.


William S. Alevizon

Research Associate

Dept. of Biology

College of Charleston

58 Coming St.

Charleston,  S.C. 29424


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